Applied Life Studies

The Applied Life Studies Subject Network includes psychology, child and youth studies, childhood practice, health and social studies, nursing, oral health, primary teaching, counselling and psychotherapy, beauty therapy, hairdressing, complementary therapies.

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The work in curriculum development and employer engagement within the subject network can be wide ranging - from conducting industry research projects, to hosting student focus groups, identifying and facilitating volunteering opportunities, or employer engagement events. This work also puts employability at the forefront, aiming to produce work-ready students and graduates who have experienced teaching and learning that meets the needs of employers and the sectors they operate in.

To find out more about working with students and staff in this subject area, please contact lorna.ferguson@uhi.ac.uk

Lorna Ferguson

Lorna Ferguson

Lorna works with the Applied Life Studies Subject Network, supporting academic staff at HE level across the university partnership.  Lorna’s particular focus is working with the staff and students on the BA (Hons) Health and Social Studies, BSc (Hons) Psychology and BA (Hons) Child and Youth Studies online degrees.

Lorna’s background is mental health, particularly based in the Third Sector, supporting those furthest removed from the labour market, to gain the skills and experience necessary to return or progress into employment, whilst managing their mental health.

Lorna was the Manager for a Hospitality charity that supported those with care and criminal justice experience, to gain the necessary skills and experience they required to enter the workforce. Lorna has a BSc (Hons) in Health and Behavioural Sciences from the University of Abertay, Dundee.

Lorna Ferguson

Employer Insights Videos

Employer Insights Videos

Highland Third Sector Interface is an independent charity which aims to support, encourage, and inspire work with community groups, clubs, charities, and other third sector organisations throughout Highland.

Find out more about the organisation and the work they do in our Highland Third Sector Interface insights video.

Another organisation the university collaborates with closely, particularly with regards to volunteering, is 'Let's Get On With It Together' (LGOWIT) - a partnership supporting self-management across the Highland region.

About LGOWIT

LGOWIT Opportunities

Opportunities from Volunteering

Volunteer Impact

Volunteering with LGOWIT

Volunteering Values - Case Study

Volunteering Values - Case Study

To support the 3 online degrees within the Applied Life Studies Network, the CDEEO met with the academic staff, working with the BA (Hons) Child and Youth Studies, BA (Hons) Health and Social Studies and BSc (Hons) Psychology, online students. Through these meetings the CDEEO was able to identify that there was a skills gap in regards to student employability skills, knowledge and experience.

As a result, the CDEEO undertook research into volunteering opportunities that could enhance student employability, using Inverness as a pilot area initially, before expanding to the rest of the UHI partnership area.  The CDEEO looked into the value that volunteering can have to a student.  The CDEEO also explored how supportive local employers would be in allowing students to undertake volunteering within their organisations.

The CDEEO met with a variety of Third Sector organisations within the Inverness area, who all had volunteering opportunities available.  These meetings allowed the CDEEO to discuss the cohort of students that were currently requiring further experience within a working environment, and the likelihood of them being able to volunteer and gain valuable, relatable work experience that will benefit them post-graduation.

Findings from the meetings were then fed back to relevant academic staff, including the details of volunteering opportunities, which were promoted directly to the current Psychology students.  As a result of the promotion, 3 students have now started volunteering with a local Third Sector agency, gaining valuable work experience that is also relevant to their qualification.  Since the CDEEO has worked on this, more volunteering opportunities have been offered to the students, with employers using the new FutureMe page, to promote both paid and voluntary positions.

Optometry - Case Study

Optometry - Case Study

To support the development of the new BSc (Hons) Optometry degree, the CDEEO was asked to work on the creation of work placement and course handbooks to ensure parity of student experience across both partner sites - Inverness College UHI and Moray College UHI.

All handbooks had to be created from new, using best practice from handbooks used on other courses, as an example template.  All handbooks had to meet the standards of requirement for the General Optical Council, as part of the approval process for the degree.

Through attendance at Optometry focused groups, the CDEEO was also able to gauge potential work placement needs, including what employers were looking for in a handbook, so that students were adequately prepared prior to their placement.  This also helped the CDEEO to shape the structure of the handbooks.

Employer Testimonial

Employer Testimonial

"I have worked with Lorna in recruiting volunteers to work as mentors.

This has proven very successful with six Psychology students showing an interest in volunteering, from this three students have signed up and are attending our training this Month. If I had not met with Lorna and had her support in circulating emails then this would not have happened. As a third sector organisation it is valuable for us to recruit volunteers as well as paid members of staff. Having someone who is a link between ourselves and students is invaluable as we always look to recruit those with a genuine interest and passion in working within this field.

We also support people beyond volunteering, with extra training and possibly getting involved in paid work within Action for Children."

Volunteer Co-ordinator, Action for Children

Staff Testimonial

Staff Testimonial

"As Subject Network Leader for the Applied Life Studies, I have found the role of the CDEEO as invaluable.

Lorna has had a positive impact on the staff and students in the SN, particularly on the potential employability of our students. The main work has involved Lorna having discussions with programme leaders targeting online students, who have no or minimal employer contact through their programme, in identifying and creating a database of organisations which offer volunteering opportunities for students to access."

Fiona Skinner, Subject Network Leader, Applied Life Studies